Wood pellet stoves [poëles à granules]

We are talking to a local firm which offers to install heating solutions, water heaters, insulation, double glazing etc and co-ordinate the claims for regional grants, credit impôts, etc. Their offer looks very tempting but they only offer one product/brand in each category. This particular firm is based in Tarn, is accredited by the Conseil Régional [Midi-Pyrenées for us] and is called EcoGroupage. No doubt there are many other such organisations.

Our main interest is to replace our ancient and knackered wood-burner with something modern, efficient, clean but attractive in appearance.

Two questions:

1] Has anyone dealt with one of these forms and what has your experience been?

2] Have you bought/installed/used [or indeed rejected] a poêle à granules. What did it cost, what is your experience etc...

I know virtually nothing about wood pellet stoves but we do have wood pellet central heating and are delighted with it. It's clean, doesn't smell, is definitely not noisy and only needs to have the ash box emptied at most once a month (in the summer when it's just backing up the solar water heating I don't empty it at all). OK, the investment was pretty hefty -- 18,500 Euros for a 20 kw boiler, a special hot water tank that works with the solar panels we already had installed as well as the boiler, a six tonne textile silo and a blown-air (aspiration) system to move the pellets from the silo to the boiler. That was reduced by a number of tax breaks and subsidies. The tax breaks were sufficient for me to have negative tax the following year i.e. the government paid me! The only noise is in the evening when the pellet feed kicks in to fill the boiler's own silo and half a dozen bangs when the automatic grate shakes the ash from the grate to the ash bin. The pellet feed sounds no worse than mild rain on the veranda roof. The bangs last no more than 10 seconds. Otherwise you wouldn't know the central heating was working.

It's controlled by a built-in computer which allows you to make a wide variety of settings.

It's Austrian, made by Okofen which has suppliers all over the country. A quick Google will find the one nearest you. The after-sales service has been magnificent. My dealer is based in Montpellier, a 360-km round trip. But they responded immediately when we had a couple of teething problems (one of the settings entered by the dealer when the system was first commissioned was wrong). I can't of course guarantee that all Okofen's reps are that good but if you live in the area covered by the Montpellier rep you won't be disappointed.

1 Like

Hi Chris

Sorry if I'm repeating someone else's comments

I supply and install wood pellet boilers, I'm not an expert with pellet stoves but have experienced quite a few and I've never come across a quiet one, The majority of the noise is produced by "falling pellets" and a fan so this noise is pretty much unavoidable and if it's in a living area it can be quite intrusive.

My second bit of advice is don't buy a cheap one, pellets burn so hot, that cheap fire chambers are unable to handle the temperatures for long.

Please give me a call if I can be of help, 0610378361

We have two wood pellet stoves they heat our entire house, we looked at Palazetti and it made more noise than the Ecoforest brand ones that we ended purchasing, but perhaps it didn't have the method you described, that is quieter. We purchase our pellets when they have a sale on them, store them in our cellar they are in 15 kg bags last winter our bill was 622 euros and we still have some bags for this winter. We are very happy with them, the first one is from 2008 and the second one we purchased in 2009, I have to say we have no problem with them the price was around 4.000 for each and the special flue for them was rather expensive also.


We had 2 pellet stoves in our last house and I have just installed a pellet stove in the pottery for my wife. There is generally a lot of stuff going around on the internet about pellet stoves and normally written by people who do not have one and have never lived with one.

We purchased our first stove (Ecoflame 9kw) via a dealer in France and paid over 3,000 Euros, we purchased our second stove (Extraflame Dutchessa 12kw) from Fireland.it in Italy for 1,200 Euros and I purchased the current pellet stove (12kw) from Italy on e-bay for just 900 Euros.

The thing about pellet stove is that the fan does make a very small amount of noise but after just a couple of days we did not even realise the noise was there. The big bonus with a pellet stove is the automation, we used to set the stove to come on at 0530, get the room to 20 degs and then switch off at 2300 after we had gone to bed, no having to get up and make a fire in the mornings or having to stoke the fire up to ensure an overnight burn. You have total control over the room temperature which you do not with a wood burner, no storing wood in the house. We used to keep 1 ton of wood pellets in sack under the stairs in the lounge.

One setback is that, if there is a power failure, the pellet stove will simply go out, nice and safely (one friend of ours has a battery backup system to keep the stove running). When the power comes back on the pellet stove will resume and automatically light itself.

During spring when you suddenly get a cold snap you can just press a button and 5 minutes later the fire is running, then the sun comes out and you just press the off button, try doing that with a wood burner.

As for French companies providing pellet stoves, they are a total rip off and their prices are just ridiculous. If you look at the prices on the fireland site you will see just how over priced they are even when you take into account that they set it up (our took me 15 minutes from arrival to fully operational)... http://fireland.it/uk/products.php?numbcat=9

If the noise is to much for some people, you can always purchase a pellet stove which pushes the air around to different rooms using air ducts, then the stove can be located in a place where you cannot hear it, just like a boiler really.

Hope this helps, Mike L

Good point about the dust

I have 2 wood pellet stoves, I have had them for over 2 years now, benefits are: cheap to run, heat on demand and programmable. downside is that they can be noisy in use.

They are easy to install, easy to maintain and a lot cleaner than the fires they replaced.

I bought mine off Ebay from an Italian company at a reasonable price and have to say that they compare favourably with models costing substantially more in France.

The biggest plus for me is the huge reduction in dust, my wife has asthma which was badly affected by the dust from our woodburner, installing a pellet stove has improved her quality of life no end.

Thanks Brian that's a comfort, Michael came to appraise the job and suggested we needed a smaller boiler than originally thought so saved us a few € we already have wood for our kitchen stove/ cooker so now only have one fuel source so power cuts wont have any effect on heating or cooking other than stumbling about in the dark when the lights go out , which i have done for years anyway lights on or off

If we need to add when we do alterations to our house, then we'll have one of Michael's gasification boilers too. We know people who have them and they are good, I think the Swans have one in their own house which convinces me.

There are a lot of sales led companies out there offering big tax incentives but also charging a heck of a lot, a great deal being commission. I was given a devis totalling nearly 23000 euros for one pellet burner (inc flue) and loft insulation. I know that good pellet burners can be bought for under 4000. The guy pressures you to sign before leaving your house and cancellation is pretty complicated and has to be done within a very short timescale. You can buy a boiler and pay over a few months.

We have an oil burning central heating boiler that drinks oil we spent a long time deliberating the pros and cons of each system and finally settled on a wood gasification boiler. Its now sitting in our garage awaiting installation by Swan Solar apparently you load it up and it runs for approximately 5 hours on oak logs. The logs are max 35cm long by 8cm dia so not big by most log burner standards the boilers isn't as big as i imagined so it wont hold many logs.The local guy who came to give us a quote for a pellet burner was having a laugh at 19k€ just for the boiler,he had conveyor belts and storage bins all over our basement i could have had hours of fun putting plastic ducks on the belt and charging the locals for target practice. I also have heard they are noisy and a guys wife complains of the noise so its rarely used. Does the company not have a demo model running

I'll probably need it. The technicalities are beyond me. I just want a warm, clean house!

Yes Chris, I think it's fair to say you get what you pay for and we should have done more research into the different brands and what they offer in terms of quality, looks and performance.The bottom end of the market is certainly an area to steer clear of. I think by the time you have bought your chosen heater and had it installed properly there will not be much change out of €5000-€6000. Its quite an investment.Good luck.

Wow, thanks Julie. What a saga, and poor you. I think you may have answered why one should pay 4,000 for a pellet stove and not 1500 to 2000. The one we are looking at doesn't have a screw feed because the rep told us they are noisy and can get blocked. The computer problem worries me. One thing for sure, I won't look at Zebro!

Bonjour Chris,

We bought a ZEBRO pellet heater 2 1/2 seasons ago. It cost around €1300 then but retails at around €2000 now..shock, horror!

The first season the silicone seal perished. After that in quick succession the metal pellet holder/ pot burned through a hole at the back, letting through too much air. The computer had a mind of its own and often would turn the fan on in the middle of the night or at odd times. The feeder/auger? would stack up causing a blockage and ground the pellets to sawdust. Eventually it ceased to work at all. Yes the fan and auger are noisy. it cost around €300 to heat the open plan lounge for the winter, probably used 8 hours each day.

Godzilla as I named it finally went to poel heaven because we did not want to put good money after bad repairing it and we are now left with the problem of how to heat our house for the coming winter. We have done the woodburner thing and was cheesed of with the mess and hassle of sourcing wood at a decent price and then having to lug it up 5 steps into the house etc. What we really need is a clean,instant programmable heat source and are researching these eco electric radiators. We already have electric underfloor heating in the wet areas and kitchen and it is the best thing we have done.

Would I recommend a pellet heater? in one word..no!

Contact me by PM and I'll put you on to somebody who can properly advise. Suzanne Fitzgerald has used this company too and is pleased. If she sees this I hope she will give her tuppence worth.

Find me a quiet'un & I'll probably buy one for the kitchen. Something automatic on a cold & frosty morning would be great.

Although Vic, the rep who saw us swears that they are very quiet. The model he recommends does not use the archimedes screw which makes the noise and can clog up; the pellet feed uses another [and according to him] silent method. It's made by Palazzetti.

I've seen lots of them in action but as I've said before, I can't get past the amount of noise they make. My missus can't stand the slight noise our kitchen heat pump makes as it gently wafts hot/cold air at us so that doesn't get used much & makes a granule jobbie an absolute No No! Seems I'm stuck with chopping trees until old, old age gets me:-)

I'd appreciate a chat if you are still working in this business, thank you.